Interiors: White tiles are boring. Impress your house guests with a waterproof wallpapered loo instead

Laura Ivill
House of Hackney and CP Hart's "traditional" collaboration

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-dressed bathroom. During a dinner party, all your beloved guests will need to excuse themselves at some point. “Oh, wow!” you’ll hear them cry. “I love your loo!” Little room, big impact.

For too long all-white sanitaryware and plain walls have been safe, a by-word for boring. “People now want to spend time relaxing in a bathroom decorated to coordinate with the rest of their home,” says Brani Hadzi of Multiliving in West Hampstead. With tasteful colour and texture providing zip and zing in our living spaces, it’s time for our bathrooms to take centre stage.

The recent collaboration between London influencers CP Hart in their Waterloo showroom and House of Hackney, of Shoreditch, has been a trailblazing success.

Wow-factor wallpaper in the bathroom perfectly complements a stunning rolltop bath and Crittall-panelled shower. Daring glamour is the order of the day, whether contemporary boudoir or urban luxe.

For the twin showroom sets, House of Hackney co-founder, Frida Gormley, says they chose one in moody, verdant ink, the other in quartz pink (echoed, incidently, in the new uber-luxe Lanesborough spa at Hyde Park). “From here, we incorporated key materials across metals and marbles, which were luxurious new elements for us to work into the schemes,” she says.

House of Hackney and CP Hart "contemporary" set up

“House of Hackney is a lot about intensity,” says Dan Cook, principal development designer at CP Hart ( “We have seen a lot of personalisation coming into the bathroom, more confidence.” People are daring to use wallpaper, not just for a feature wall, but across whole rooms – giving particular impact to a guest cloakroom, so often pokey and soulless. Go wild with House of Hackney’s amusing Animal range of monkeys, flamingos and tigers (

One versatile innovation is waterproof wallpaper. The designer-manufacturer Wall& Deco of Milan ( has technical wall coverings for wet rooms. Inside the shower, a waterproof membrane is pasted onto a primer, and the wallpaper, attractively textured semi-gloss, will create any look and feel you like.

You can find it at West One Bathrooms ( By using wallpaper, you’ll make it easier to hang decorative mirrors and framed pictures, and, unlike tiling, it’s much less hassle to change if you want a refresh.

Marisa Varma is head of interiors at the boutique developer Harrison Varma ( “In the properties we create, guest cloakrooms are intended to be decorative and decadent,” she says. “They will generally be used for a short time, so there is an opportunity to create a dramatic look. We like to be brave and experiment with darker colours and interesting patterns.”

Wall & Deco's waterproof wallpaper in "Mystical Dream"

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Varma’s standout look is to use marble or limestone flooring that continues half way up the wall, acting as a splashback, with a brass or chrome trim detail and wallpaper above.

“We use tactile wallcoverings, such as velvet flock or a bamboo texture, so that we contrast the natural stone with a more opulent material.” Wallcoverings with silk threads, such as those by Carlucci di Chivasso and Brian Yates, are richly inviting, and Varma is a fan of vanity units by Devon & Devon, along with decorative lighting, ornaments, trinkets and the ever-present white orchid. If your guests are spending too long in the loo, you’ll now know why.

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